Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Latest Quarto: Researching the Civil War

The latest issue of the Quarto is now available. The Quarto is a semi-annual newsletter published by the William L. Clements Library and sent to members of the Clements Library Associates. If you would like more information about membership, please contact Ann Rock at annrock@umich.edu or 734-358-9770. To become an Associate, download the membership application and mail it to: Library Associates, William L. Clements Library, 909 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190.

In addition to news and announcements about the Clements Library, this issue features several essays about the Civil War collections of the Library, including manuscripts, sheet music, culinary history, and maps. The next issue of the Quarto will focus on the Civil War as well.

Contents of the Spring-Summer 2010 issue of the Quarto:
  1. "The Civil War," by J. Kevin Graffagnino, Director. An introduction to the Clements Library holdings on this subject.
  2. "The War in Their Own Words," by Cheney Schopieray, Assistant Curator of Manuscripts. Manuscript collections of the Civil War, including soldiers' letters and diaries.
  3. "The Songs of the Civil War," by Clayton Lewis, Curator of Graphic Materials. Popular music of the war.
  4. "The Food and Society Database," by JJ Jacobson, Curator for American Culinary History. A description of the forthcoming database for finding culinary references in the collection, and how it can be used to research aspects of the Civil War.
  5. "Maps from the Front," by Brian Dunnigan, Curator of Maps and Head of Research & Publications. Printed and manuscript maps of the Civil War.
  6. "Developments," by Ann Rock, Director of Development.The James S. Copley auction and challenge grant.
  7. Announcements.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Current Exhibit: "Fine-Tuning a Great Collection: The How and Why of Recent Acquisitions," June 14 - October 8, 2010

A new exhibit at the Clements Library showcases some of the best of its recent acquisitions and uses these rare books, manuscripts, maps, and graphic materials to explain the Library’s policies for adding to its outstanding holdings. "Fine Tuning a Great Collection: The How and Why of Recent Acquisitions" opened to the public on June 14 and will be on display through October 8.

The Clements Library opened its doors in 1923 as the first rare books and special collections library at an American public university. The building and its books were a gift to the University of Michigan by William L. Clements, an alumnus and industrialist from Bay City. The collection was soon broadened to include other primary historical source materials, such as manuscripts, maps, and graphics. Today the Clements Library is one of the great repositories of primary source material on the history of the Americas and welcomes scholars from the university and around the world.

The Library's holdings have grown steadily since 1923, both in quantity and quality. Materials are acquired by gift and by purchase, and the Library collects actively. The exhibit features a wide variety of items that have been added since 2004, including a circa 1740 plan of the French fortress town of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia, a portrait print of Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture, a letter written by women's suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony, correspondence from soldiers of the Civil War and War of 1812, selections from the culinary history archive, and a rare, 1856 illustrated atlas of America.

"Fine Tuning a Great Collection" is open to the public in the Main Room of the Clements Library Monday through Thursday from 1:00 pm to 4:45 pm. After September 7 the exhibit will be open Monday though Friday.

The Clements Library is located on the campus of the University of Michigan at 909 South University Avenue, Ann Arbor. For further information please call 734-764-2347.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

$150,000 Challenge Grant Announced

Help us to purchase important documents of the early history of the United States
by doubling the value of your donation.

A generous anonymous donor presented a remarkable opportunity that will benefit the Clements Library in many ways for years to come. One of the nation's greatest private collections of Americana is being auctioned off over the next year and we have an anonymous benefactor who has offered $150,000 as a one-to-one challenge match to purchase rare items for our library.

We need to raise $150,000 to fully take advantage of this gift, and we have already received more than $40,000.

These remarkable documents are part of holdings of James S. Copley, a newspaper publisher and a collector of considerable stature who amassed a first-class collection of Americana during the 1960s and 1970s. After Mr. Copley's death in 1973 his family established the James S. Copley Library to hold his marvelous collection. Beginning in April 2010 and continuing through April 2011, Sotheby's will auction the Copley treasures, which have an estimated value of $10-15 million. Read an article about the James S. Copley auctions in the New York Times.

The Sotheby's description states that these materials offer "an incredible survey in original manuscripts of American history and worldwide literary, artistic and scientific achievement. The core of the collection is its remarkable range of handwritten letters, documents, and other manuscripts which trace this history of America from the earliest incursion of Jesuit missionaries into California through the archive of letters sent by General Eisenhower to his wife from the battlefields of Europe."

Many of the Copley items have great appeal for the Clements. The historic documents relating to the American Revolution and the Civil War that are now at the Clements have formed the basis for important scholarship by such distinguished authors such as Carl Van Doren, Fred Anderson, David McCullough, James T. Flexner, Gerda Lerner and Richard B. Morris. The Copley collection is rich in primary sources on both conflicts, and the Sotheby's sales will also feature extraordinary documentation of the birth and expansion of the United States.

At the first Copley auction on April 14, the Library purchased six outstanding manuscript items—letters of Governor George Clinton, General Thomas Gage, General Nathanael Greene, General Israel Putnam, Governor Thomas Hutchinson, and President John Tyler. We were delighted to add these pieces and their insights into the Revolution, colonial American politics and slavery in antebellum American to our collections. These items were purchased with our own funds and if we meet the challenge we will have $300,000 available for the upcoming Copley auctions.

Many more treasures remain in the Copley sales, and by bringing them to the Clements we can ensure that they remain accessible for students of our national heritage.

Each donor will be recognized on a plaque that will be displayed in the Great Room. Once purchased, we will host an exhibit of acquisitions with a reception for donors.

There are many ways you can donate. Give online by selecting "Acquisition" on the Clements Library Online Giving page, or mail your gift using this form [download PDF]. If you would like more information, please contact Ann Rock at annrock@umich.edu or 734-358-9770.

Thank you for considering a gift that will help to make these unique letters and documents available to students and researchers for generations. All who contribute will be able to take pride in knowing that their gift helped to purchase some of the most notable additions to our collection.

UPDATE: As of July 22, 2010, we have raised $75,000! Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Highlights from the Culinary Archive on Display in the Audubon Room

From the University of Michigan Record Update for Wednesday, June 9, 2010: Jan Longone and Provost Theresa Sullivan at a reception to honor the Longones' donation of their culinary collection to the William L. Clements Library. Materials donated by Daniel and Janice Longone form the core of the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive, a collection of primary sources devoted to the subject of food history in America.

At the reception sponsored by the Provost at the Hatcher Graduate Library on June 8, guests had an opportunity to view four books from the culinary collection. These books are on public display in the Audubon Room of the Hatcher Library until June 28, 2010.

Excerpts from exhibit brochure (view full brochure [pdf]):

Tractatus de Vinea, Vindemia, et Vino
Venetiis, 1629, Prospero Rendella
The most significant 17th century book on wine

This rare and beautiful work covers all there was to know about wine from the classic period until its own day, as an English translation of the title page suggests: “In which things that pertain to the care and culture of vineyards, to the work of the grape harvest, and the instructions of the vintner, as well as many questions and laws are considered and lucidly explained. And not only the many types of wine but also about the trade in wine and the attention required for its skilled use are put forth. It will be especially useful and necessary for all the judges as for those occupied in the forum and also for those who attend to agriculture. With an index of chapters and a notation of worthy matters which are contained in the work with license and privilege of the Higher-Ups.” The author, a jurisprudent, discusses viticulture, how to care for vines, diseases, vinification, harvests, cellar work, commerce and legal matters. There are interesting details on various wines (Falernian, Lacrima, and numerous wines of the Naples region), religious rites in connection with wine, blessing of the harvest, sacred feasts, divine origin of the grape, wine for the mass, bacchanals, etc. There are discussions of casks and tools of the press and the harvest, and of jokes during the harvest. There are sections on an interpretation of the first codex about military rationing of food (how much wine was rationed to soldiers and how frequently) as well as the code of Constantine on military rationing of food.

Antiquitates Culinariae; or Curious Tracts Relating to the Culinary Affairs of the Old English
London, 1791, Rev. Richard Warner (1763-1857)
First and sole edition of one of the most beautiful works on early English recipes

Richard Warner was a prominent English antiquarian and divine. This book was one of the first works to examine the history of early English cookery, at the forefront of a scholarly movement that developed over the last three decades of the 18th century. The book contains Warner’s detailed introductory notes; “The Forme of Cury,” copied from an ancient vellum roll thought to have been compiled about 1390 by the master cooks of King Richard II; “Ancient Cookery, A.D. 1381,” another collection of recipes from the same vellum roll; “Ancient Cookery,” a collection of recipes from a 15th century manuscript but which almost certainly dates from a much earlier period; “Ancient Receipts to Preserve Fruits,” from the mid-17th century; an account of the enthronization feast of George Neville as Archbishop of York in the reign of King Edward IV; and of the enthronization feast of William Warham as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1501. The double-page colored plate titled “A Peacock Feast” which is present in this volume, was removed from most copies, owing to a dispute with the original publisher.

A Domestic Cook Book
Paw Paw, Michigan, 1866, Mrs. Malinda Russell
Only Copy Known of First African-American Cookbook

Malinda Russell was born in Tennessee a free woman of color. On her way to Liberia at age 19, she was robbed in Virginia by a member of her party. She immediately began to work as a cook, companion and laundress. She married, had a son and was widowed after four years; using her maiden name for the rest of her life. After her husband died, she returned to Tennessee and kept a boarding house on Chuckey Mountain for 3 years, then a pastry shop for 6 years, and “by hard labor and economy, saved a considerable sum of money for the support of myself and my son.” Then, in 1864, for the second time in her life, her money was stolen, by a guerrilla party who threatened her life if she revealed who they were. “Under those circumstances, we were obliged to leave home, following a flag of truce out of the Southern borders.” Hearing that Michigan was the Garden of the West, she moved there. Forced to leave the South because of her Union principles, she wrote this book “hoping to receive enough…to enable me to return home.” It is quite astonishing this fragile and unique copy of A Domestic Cook Book has survived. For years, my husband Dan and I tried to discover more about her, spending our 48th wedding anniversary in the South, trying to uncover further details. Several times we felt we had come close, but in the end, we could not be certain we had located her. Not yet! Who was this indomitable woman, who never gave up? Her story is an African-American story; it is an American story. She has overcome.

Favorite Recipes
Charlottesville, 1912, The Ladies of Virginia
A rare American survivor - To honor Provost Sullivan

This fragile book, one of only three copies known, represents the thousands of charity or fundraising cookbooks issued by ladies’ organizations from the mid 19th century. Essentially begun as a legacy of the Civil War, the trickle of these early books published in the 1860s and ‘70s quickly became a flood that continues into our own time, as thousands of charity cookbooks have been produced in the United States to benefit every conceivable cause. These had been an under-utilized and are now becoming an increasingly-used resource for the study of American history. The popularity and rapid spread of the charity cookbook phenomenon is considered a prime example of female bonding and collective civic virtue. At a time when women were without full political rights and representation, they found these books one very effective way to participate in the public life of the nation. This particular charity was chosen to honor current U-M Provost Teresa Sullivan - from The Ladies of Virginia to the New Lady, soon to be President of the University of Virginia. Much can be learned from examining this small book. There are advertisements for the University, explaining that tuition in Academic Departments is FREE to Virginians. There is an ad for a School for Girls, run by a woman, which offers a College Preparatory program ($300). There is a list of Prominent Boarding Houses. And, a recipe for Reception Patties (for 100 guests) which uses 21 sweetbreads and six bottles French mushrooms. Perhaps in the future President Sullivan will serve this historic dish.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Staff Favorite: 1743 Book on Longitude by Woman Scientist

Rare Book Cataloger Oksana Linda, who came to the Library in 1998, is particularly fond of this little-known book on longitude by Jane Squire. Bound in calf leather, this volume is beautifully embellished with a centerpiece onlay of black leather, tooled with figures relating to formulae printed in the text. Such elaborate decoration is unusual for such an obscure work, self-published by a female scientist in the 18th century.

Even more intriguing than the binding is the story behind the book itself. In 1714, The British government formed the Commissioners for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea to encourage innovators to develop an accurate method for measuring longitude.They offered prizes from £10,000 to 20,000 for a working method or device, as well as smaller awards for those making significant contributions or working towards a promising solution. The measurement of longitude, essential to cartography and ocean navigation, was a scientific problem that occupied many of the greatest minds of the day.While early navigators could measure latitude with reasonable accuracy, there was no reliable method for determining longitude on long sea-voyages. Errors in navigation could result in several weeks' delay, starvation, or shipwreck. France, Spain, and Holland also offered prizes for longitude solutions.

Jane Squire (1671-1743) was the only woman to try for the prize. In 1731 she published an 11-page pamphlet, "A proposal to determine our longitude" and submitted it to the commissioners of the British longitude prize. Despite her persistence, her proposal did not gain acceptance. Her 1742 book, A proposal for discovering our longitude, further elaborated on her theory and struggles to promote it. With parallel texts in English and French, the book included her original pamphlet, copies of letters written and received regarding her proposal, and a complex explanation of the unique system she developed for measurements. The Clements Library holds a copy of the second edition of this work, printed in English in 1743 and titled A proposal to determine our longitude.

Jane Squire's scientific approach was unusual, to say the least. Rejecting the traditional approaches, she proposed a new system of dividing the globe into a million "cloves," each with its own "zenithal" star to calculate astral and local time. She developed her own terminology and measurements, and used a prime meridian based on the city of Bethlehem. Indeed, it is not surprising that her ideas were dismissed by the commissioners and contemporary scientists. An analysis printed in The Observatory in 1915 concluded, "The central idea of the proposal is rooted in a remarkable confusion of thought."

Despite serious flaws in her proposal for determining longitude, Squire valiantly asserted her right to compete along with the other scientists of her day. Against the objection that "Mathematicks are not the proper Study of Women," Squire asserted that "to count, to measure, &c. which are now generally suppos'd to be included in [Mathematics]; are so naturally, the Properties of every reasonable Creature, that it is impossible to renounce them."

Squire continued, "Hence, Sir, it has ever appeared to me ; that to study the Law of God Day and Night, is my proper Business ; Philosophy, my Amusement ; and Mathematicks, my Play-things. . . . I do not remember any Play-thing, that does not appear to me a mathematical model ; nor any mathematical Instrument, that does not appear to me a Play-thing :  I see not, therefore, why I should confine myself to Needles, Cards, and Dice." Regarding her right to seek the prize, she declared that it appeared to her "as fair a Prize, as any Plate given to be run for at Newmarket or elsewhere ; the Pursuit more entertaining, the Victory more glorious, and the Attempt free to all."

Jane Squire must have been a remarkable woman, and yet little is known of her beyond her published works. A brief biographical entry in The feminist companion to literature in English summarized her proposal and notes that "the scholar Thomas Rawlins admired her." Rawlins' letter to George Ballard in 1743 indicated a deep respect for her character and work:
"Mrs. Jane Squire author of ye Treatise very lately published for determining ye Longitude. She was a Lady excellently well versed in Astronomy, Philosophy, & most pts of polite Literature. She had a most moral Life. She dyed April 4th. 1743 wth. a just Resignation to ye Will of God (a Roman Catholick) & in a firm Hope of Salvation. It is a great Loss to Navigators yt she has not lived to finish her Catalogue of Stars, describing their Longitude, Latitude & Place in both Hemispheres, in a manner entirely new, & more certain than any ever done before." [Letter reprinted in the edited edition of Ballard's Memoirs of several ladies of Great Britain, 1985]